full title · How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
author · Julia Alvarez
type of work · Novel
genre · Family Epic
time and place written · The United States, late 1980s
date of first publication · 1991
publisher · Penguin Books
narrator · Multiple narrators and perspectives, shifting between and within chapters
climax · The family's flight from the Dominican Republic is the turning point that shatters the extended family and causes the daughters' psychological damage.
protagonist · The four Garcia sisters equally share the role of protagonist
antagonist · The challenges of immigration are the antagonists, from family conflicts to cultural readjustments
setting (time) · 1956–1989
setting (place) · The Dominican Republic and the United States
point of view · The point of view shifts between numerous characters, both those within the Garcia family and others
falling action · The sisters' childhood memories of the Dominican Republic conclude the novel and provide falling action from the climax of leaving the Island.
tense · The present tense is used to narrate moments of particular tension or crisis, and the past tense is used throughout the rest of the narrative.
foreshadowing · Because the novel is presented in reverse chronological order, foreshadowing often happens in reverse. For instance, Yolanda's experience with the kitten in Chapter 15 foreshadows her leaving the Island in Chapter 11, but the reader doesn't learn of this moment until after hearing about the family's last day on the Island.
tone · The tone shifts frequently, depending on the narrative perspective. Often a casual, intimate tone is used when told from one of the sister's perspectives.
themes · Family Conflict, Sexuality, The Meaning of Language
motifs · Nicknames
symbols · Mother Cat, Black Bird, Guavas, Snow
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